Here we are, looking around New York for yet another season and while the usual excitement is still here, the feel is palpably different. First, the venues are more spread out. There’s no mesh of crowds running from one room to another at Lincoln Center. Instead, Uber, Taxi, and Limo services are making a killing ferrying people back and forth between Moynihan Station (33rd street), MADE Studios (15th street), and Clarkson Square, all the way down on Washington Street. If you didn’t pack a good pair of walking shoes, you’re going to have blisters just from one day of running back and forth. We’re just getting started, though, so everyone’s still in a good mood at this point.
Once again, BCBGMaxAzria is the first major show of the season. While we’ve known for several years now that Lubov Azria was actually the one making the design decisions, Lubov has stepped out more front and center with this collection. She’s been all over their Facebook page for the past couple of weeks, dropping hints via video about what we would see. Not surprisingly, this collection shows more of Lubov’s slightly quirky, a little off-center style than what we’ve seen in past collections. In fact, this collection is such an obvious extension of Lubov’s taste that one would have trouble imagining Max participating at all beyond perhaps shaking his head and nodding between naps.
What is surprising is that Lubov picks up right where we left off last February with yet more 70s Boho style. Granted, boho ala Lubov is a bit different than what we see from other designers, but still one has to ask whether such an obvious look back is going to continue to be trendy next spring after having such a strong presence in wardrobes this fall. If millennials don’t continue to enjoy this trend, it could bite the label in the backside. None of the fashion labels are doing well enough to really be taking severe risks and this could be one if other designers don’t follow suit.
The big items that stand out in this collection are patchwork bucket hats and knit legwarmers. No, I’m not kidding. This is your grandfather’s fishing hat without all the used lures attached, and your mother’s leg warmers, which is really more of a decade-jumping 80’s thing rather than 70’s boho. The hats appear with everything in the collection, including the finále piece that I’m pretty sure was supposed to be Lubov’s take on a somewhat boho wedding dress. The legwarmers are a little more sporadic, but generally come with anything that hits above the knee.
There’s also a bit of a Southwestern desert vibe in Lubov’s color choices, with soft and muted pastels set against calm tans and denim blues. For the most part, this color mix works; there’s nothing in the collection that risks blindness as it comes down the catwalk. The pairings are often non-traditional, though, and Lubov seems to have absolutely no issue with putting six to eight different colors together on the same look. When done as color-blocked solids or stripes, the mix is tolerable. When done with patterns, though, it gets a bit busy.
There are loads of knits in this collection, as well as a hefty supply of jersey materials and chiffon. Lubov’s gift for layering really shows here and she gives the BCBG girl plenty of mix and match options so that one can choose an outfit in the cool of the morning and still be comfortable in the warmer afternoon without having to rush home and change. Tie-dyed jersey shirts make an excellent foundation for many of these combinations, including the wedding dress.
We’re also watching diversity on the runway this season, and in that regard we can only give BCBGMaxAzria a two on a scale of ten. Lubov designs for women who look like her: tall, blonde, and Nordic and that is exactly the type of model that dominates her runway. Half the models looked so similar as to be almost completely interchangeable. I only counted five non-Caucasian models in the whole set, which is disappointing.
Here we go! This promises to be a very exciting and interesting season. We’ll do at least two reviews a day, based on what we see. We hope you’ll join us for every one of them!
photo credit: Guillaume Roujas